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Title: The role of hair follicles in cutaneous wound healing
Author: Ansell, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 3190
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Over the past decade the concept that the hair follicle plays an important role in cutaneous wound repair has been established. Several elegant lineage tracing studies have demonstrated that hair follicle derived cells contribute to the long term maintenance of the epidermis following repair, while an absence of hair follicles is known to delay repair. The exact mechanisms surrounding hair follicle derived repair are unknown. Moreover, while multiple stem cell niches are present within the hair follicle, their relative importance during wound repair is still unclear. The hair follicle is also a regenerative mini-organ, undergoing regular cycles of growth and regression throughout life, yet surprisingly this has not been previously investigated with respect to wound repair. Data presented in this thesis reveals an unappreciated, yet fundamental link between the independent processes of hair cycle and wound repair, with a substantial acceleration in the rate of repair (~50%) observed in anagen phase. Importantly, the hair follicle appears to play a global role in repair, with differences in the contribution of multiple cell types to wound repair. In addition, this thesis addresses the early kinetics of hair follicle wound response for the first time. Anagen hair follicles are found predisposed to a more rapid and extensive response to injury, suggesting a higher overall percentage of repair derived from the hair follicle in anagen phase. Surprisingly, the bulge stem cell region, while critical for hair cycle appears to play little role in the events immediately following injury, and is not required for initiation of re-epithelialisation. Gene expression profiling reveals numerous genes associated with anagen accelerated repair, and identifies altered modulation of the immune system as a key mechanism. Further, anagen wounds are associated with an upregulation of developmental transcription factors, which may imply a more regenerative healing phenotype. These data reveal numerous targets with the potential to accelerate repair, which now require validation for their therapeutic potential. These targets could be of importance in promoting the repair of chronic wounds, an area of unmet clinical need. More generally, this thesis has established hair cycle as an important experimental variable, which must be controlled for in all future in vivo murine wounding studies.
Supervisor: Hardman, Matthew; Grencis, Richard Sponsor: BBSRC ; Epistem
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wound healing ; Hair follicles ; Stem cell ; Bulge ; in vivo